With over 3.8 billion people worldwide and over 91% of companies in the U.S. using social media, it has become a must-have digital channel for companies everywhere to increase brand awareness, likeability, and engagement.
So how does this translate for B2B companies? Here’s how Scratch and our team of co-pilots leverage social media as part of a robust digital marketing strategy for clients.
The Benefits of Using Social Media in B2B Digital Marketing
Build Brand Awareness Organically
While there are skeptics around the need for or efficacy of an organic presence, having a business profile on LinkedIn and Twitter is essential. It provides a “home base” for social activity and makes your brand searchable. This is especially relevant in the B2B world, where the level of social activity is a major factor in establishing brand authority and impact and shaping customer perception.
Content will get you everywhere
Thought leadership is one of the best ways to build brand awareness and authority. Validating industry expertise through creative content, blog posts, and commentary on timely news articles is key to elevating a company’s social presence—and goes beyond promotional posts and sales tie-ins. Research shows that some 96% of all B2B companies want more content from thought leaders. By chiming into post threads and sharing insightful comments within the newsfeed, companies can strengthen their voices and help shape the online conversation happening amongst members of their target audience. Buyers and influencers are looking for more information to round out what they already know or that can provide a direction, framework or strategy for what they want to accomplish. On LinkedIn and Twitter, thought leadership posts from B2B companies have the most potential to make an impact on followers because the majority of both audiences are made up of professionals and experts. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor and participate in online discussions and take the time to engage with each channel’s newsfeed.
Keywords and hashtags
In addition to thought leadership, B2B companies can also associate their brand with relevant keywords through the use of hashtags in online group conversations. Communicating with consistent language and messaging points helps businesses form their online identity amongst their peers. This, combined with a regular cadence of social activity and varied weekly content, allows businesses to increase their chances of being seen and heard. The more fresh information you can share, the more your network will see you as someone worth following.
Social media influences buying decisions
Building brand awareness organically is one of the main determining factors of business success and potential to form partnerships with other businesses within the industry. Before executive teams decide to invest their time and money into other companies, buying committees conduct online research to get a sense of who they are, what they stand for, and how they communicate with their current customers. Recent studies have revealed that 75% of B2B buyers consult social media when making purchasing decisions, and 69% believe it enhances a company’s credibility in the market. Through comments, tagging, and reshares, buying committees can get a sense of another brand’s relationship with their audience. By establishing meaningful customer relationships publicly on social media, brands are validating their credibility in the most natural and transparent way possible. This, in turn, contributes to overall positive brand awareness and trust with both their target audience and future business partners.
The power of employees
Employee engagement is an important key aspect of building a strong social presence. As brand ambassadors, employees are the best organic impression builder because they harness the power of individual networks. This, along with tagging, is major. Social engagement enables sales executives to connect with their customers and give a face to the team behind their brand. It allows them to amplify the company’s expertise and connect the brand with key moments like industry events.
Social selling and relationship building
For businesses, social selling is not just about “selling.” It’s about being active in the community, creating relationships, and elevating your personal brand. Studies show that 71% trust a company more when its leadership shares core mission, values, and purpose on social. Using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects is vital. It’s more than just having a profile; it’s about building relationships and finding the right moment to join online conversations. In the B2B world, executive teams are using digital and social channels to research, gain insights from others, and begin outreach…before they are even actively seeking new partners.
Run Ads and Promotions
Through paid ads and promotion tools across different channels, B2B companies can target specific audiences. Whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, setting aside a budget for paid campaigns will result in guaranteed impressions and increased activity. It also guarantees your content will be seen by those to whom it will be most relevant, resulting in more clicks and engagement.
LinkedIn for lead gen
For Scratch’s clients in the B2B world, LinkedIn is the most important channel on which to build an online presence. According to Hootsuite, LinkedIn is the top paid platform for B2B content marketers. Specifically, 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for lead generation, which will often go on to aid conversions.
Set the right objectives
In terms of evaluating the relevance and resonance of paid ads, measuring performance by tracking KPIs is key. KPIs vary across campaign objectives, so it’s important to ensure selection of the right KPIs to determine how social media marketing is helping to achieve business goals. Metrics like click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost per click (CPC) are some of the typical, useful indicators of whether social ads are performing well.
KPIs can then be used to refine ad campaigns over time—whether that be pivoting the messaging, budget, ad type, targeting, and so on. Say you’re A/B testing ad creatives, and creative A boasts a higher CTR than creative B. You’ll want to consider pausing creative B in favor of creative A in order to optimize the campaign for the ads that are resonating better with your audience. By closely monitoring performance and optimizing based on KPIs, your business can make changes based on which direction the data is trending towards and ultimately drive towards growth.
CTAs make a difference
Each social media platform has its own set of tools that allows you to create post copy accompanied by a visual, and even more significantly allows you to add call to action (CTA) buttons that give your target audience informative direction to take upon seeing the ad. This could mean a button that says “shop now,” “learn more,” “sign up,” and more. Regardless of the call to action button, paid ads and promotion tools are essential for brands to compete on social media.
The Result? More Conversions and Meaningful Online Relationships
With the power of online communication and social media strategy, a brand’s social channels can lead to higher conversion rates. In correlation with more conversations, a brand’s network of meaningful relationships grows as well. By sharing a variety of social posts with thought leadership content, company culture pieces, and relevant news or partner company announcements, brands can form meaningful relationships with both their customers and their peers and ultimately become a leading voice and helpful resource within the industry.
In a world where the competition is fierce, it’s critical to stay as up-to-date as possible with online conversations, especially today when the majority of the population has shifted nearly all of their communications to online. To gain the most value from your efforts, every aspect of your brand’s social strategy must align with your overall business and digital marketing goals.
B2B digital marketing efforts may have centered around Google Ads and emails in the past, but the evolution of social media has grown them to a new level, and it will only continue to grow.
More news around our new paid social offering for B2B client partners coming soon—stay tuned!Back to blog